Pagoda Arts was founded in 2010 with the idea of making laser cutting technology more accessible to small businesses and artists. The company brings ideas and designs to life with laser cutting, engraving and custom stencils. Owner Alex Thompson first started using laser technology in 2000 during his career as an architectural model maker. His wife, Adriana joined the company in 2012. “We decided to focus on just laser manufacturing processes to help maintain high quality and quick turnaround times and better coexist with traditional engraving shops and other CNC manufacturing,” he said.
The small team prioritizes local— and tucked in the Bayview, they’re in the perfect place to access local suppliers and other light manufacturing businesses. Pagoda collaborates with other SFMade members including Lucid Machine Art, Godar Furniture and Woodcut Maps. Look through their work and you’ll find signs for local non-profits, custom stencils for San Francisco mixologists, unique business cards, and even clothing hangers for businesses in the area. “Although our clients don’t get to operate the machines like in a tech shop environment, they usually feel very involved in the production process with quick feedback on designs and the ability to stop in to check the look of a material or a prototype,” he said.
In the next few years Alex hopes to add a fifth machine to the shop and hire a few more people to keep up with the demand. Learn more at their website here.